Wine Wednesday: Brazil’s Miolo

Today’s post is dedicated to a winery I visited last year in Brazil, Miolo. It was also the first winery I had ever heard about or tried a wine from in Brazil, starting back in 2013.  It always stayed in my mind because of the Italian heritage of the family. The founder Giuseppe Miolo, immigrated to Brazil from the Veneto in Italy in 1897. Upon his arrival in Brazil, Giuseppe went to Bento Gonçalves, a southern town newly founded by Italian immigrants.The photo above is the entrance to Bento, as the locals call it.

What I discovered during my own trip there in 2019 is that almost all of the producers in Brazil, at least in the Southern part of the country in Serra Gaucha, are of Italian descent, most from either the Veneto or Trentino. Miolo really started producing wine in 1989. Today MIolo sells about 10 million liters per year from approximately 1,000 hectares. The winery is very modern with all sorts of contraptions including these Gyropalettes. The Miolo group actually has four wineries, the one I visited and where I took these pictures was in the Vale dos Vinhedos.

The day we visited there were very few tourists. The winery was huge. It was particularly noticeable because we went late in the day and walking around, showed just how cavernous. So much so that they even had bikes and scooters in the barrel room to get around.

The MIolo group is among the largest exporters of wine from Brazil along with a couple of other top estates. MIolo looks like Disneyland and Italy mixed into one. The grounds were so manicured and beautiful that it was remarkable. I also thought it looked straight out of an Italian landscape.

We tasted through many of their wines with the lovely and smart export manager. Most were a blend of international grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot  or just Merlot on its own. They also have a booming sparkling wine business which is thriving. Brazilian sparklers tend to be made from a trio of grapes: Riesling Italico, Chardonnay and Pint Noir.  I’d be hard-pressed to say which I prefer. The sparklers were all refreshing and delicate. Brazil is trying to brand itself as a sparkling destination. I think the Merlot is actually equally as good and some of the best I’ve had. I also enjoyed their Tannat which is more refined that that of Uruguay. The Vale dos Vinhedos is the only Appellation of Origin in Brazil. Miolo’s Valle Dos Vinhedos property is 100 hectares and makes 800,000 bottles a year. The soils in this area have clay with some sandy soil as well. The climate is temperate. 

I’m excited for the webinar on Brazil for Vinexpo slated for tomorrow and led by a Brazilian Educator that I know.

10 Key Facts About Brazilian Wines:

  1. Brazil has six main wine regions: Serra Gaúcha, Serra do Sudeste, Campanha, Campos de Cima da Serra, Planalto Catarinense and the Vale do São Francisco to the far North.
  2. The largest one is called Serra Gaûcha in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. Brazil, the world’s fifth largest country, has 27 states.
  3. Brazil has about 150 wineries of a large dimension and more than 1,100 small farms, approximately two hectares per family. “The area of vineyards covered with table and vitis vinifera varieties in the country amounts to approximately 89,000 hectares located from north to south,” according to the Wines of Brasil website.
  4. Brazil is the fifth largest producer in the Southern Hemisphere.
  5. Brazil has been producing wines since the beginning of its colonization.
  6. The first vines were brought to Brazil in 1532 by Martim Afonso de Souza, who came from Portugal with the aim of disseminating agriculture in the new colony.
  7. It was the arrival of Italian immigrants, a process initiated in 1875, which really spurred growth in the sector.
  8. Many producers are making sparkling wines using a variety of grapes and production methods.
  9. There is no signature Brazilian grape as of today.
  10. The industry has undergone enormous changes in the past 15-20 years.

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